Bright SCIdea Challenge

The Bright SCIdea Challenge provides support for students at university (UK and International) to develop an innovative science-based idea into a business plan and to compete for a £5,000 prize.

SCI supports entrants in the competition by delivering free, exclusive training. Teams with the strongest business plan are invited to deliver their pitch to an expert panel of experienced, successful senior business people and innovators

For more information, please download our Bright SCIdea Challenge flyer, the Bright SCIdea 2023 poster and the Bright SCIdea Challenge Handbook.

Bright SCIdea Challenge 2023 Final

This year, five teams made it to the final of the Bright SCIdea Challenge – a multidisciplinary line-up of teams presenting innovative solutions to issues as diverse as cardiac health, the environmental impacts of food, and the greening of solvents.

Read about the pitches, the panel, the products...and the winners?

Bright SCIdea 2024

If you have a Bright SCIdea, why not register your interest now!

Register your interest for Bright SCIdea 2024!

All entrants to the Bright SCIdea Challenge receive:

An exclusive video training course featuring masterclasses on numerous aspects of developing a business pitch, including how to market your product, protect your idea and manage your money.

Networking opportunities and advice from successful entrepreneurs, investors and patent lawyers.

Templates for all aspects of your business plan, and advice on completing them. Download the Profit and Loss Account proforma template here.

Periodic Fable podcast features Bright SCIdea finalists


If your company would like to support talented young innovators through the Bright SCIdea Challenge, get in touch with us via email to discuss the different ways that you can get involved.


Our Bright SCIdea Champions

Phagel (UCL)

Phagel, from UCL, won the 2023 competition with their hydrogel mix containing a combination of bacteriophages for the treatment of burns.

CardiaTec (Cambridge University)

CardiaTec achieved victory at the Bright SCIdea 2022 final, the first event back in person at Belgrave Square, for their drug discovery tool to help fight cardiovascular disease.

Metallogen (UCL)

After a challenging year, Metallogen excelled and won the first ever virtual Bright SCIdea challenge competition. with their solution to assist phytoremediation which removes heavy metals from contaminated soils.

Plastech Innovation (Durham Univ)

In the face of tough competition, Plastech Innovation emerged triumphant in 2019 with their pitch for a new method of processing waste plastic into plastic aggregates for use in construction materials.

Team Glucoguard (UCL)

Team Glucoguard fought off stiff competition from an excellent field of finalists to win the inaugural Bright SCIdea Challenge with their pitch for a genetically modified bacterium for treatment of pre-and type II diabetes.

Meet our judges and supporters

Lucinda Bruce Gardyne

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne

Founder, Genius Foods and Chair of Scotland Food and Drink

After struggling to find quality alternative bread for her gluten-intolerant son, Lucinda, a professional chef who studied physiology at university, founded Genius Foods in 2009 with her gluten-free bread. First sold in Tesco, Genius bread is now the UK’s leading ‘free-from’ bakery and is sold across Europe, the USA and in Australia. Lucinda has won numerous awards for her work at Genius Foods, including the Ernst & Young UK Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2012. The company has also been named as one of the Top 50 most valued Scottish brands. Lucinda has recently stepped back from Genius to concentrate on her new role as Chair of Scotland Food and Drink and a new entrepreneurial project. She is also an SCI Board Trustee and NED of The Scale Up Institute.

Robin Harrison

Robin Harrison

Robin Harrison is VP Technology Platforms & External Innovation for Synthomer, one of the world’s foremost suppliers of aqueous and speciality polymers. Synthomer helps its customers create new tailored solutions and enhance performance of existing products in key industries such as coatings, construction, textiles, paper and synthetic latex gloves. Robin 's role is to define and execute Synthomer’s strategic platform innovation activities through internal programs and collaborative partnerships. Robin has over 25 years research and development experience in the chemical sector, specialising in polymer and resin chemistry, developing industrially relevant systems for a wide range of application areas. This background alongside his current role enables him to work at the interface of science with industry, whilst still being heavily involved in industrial innovation of chemical products.

Victor Christou

Victor Christou

Victor has spent the last 25 years building technology companies as both a founder and investor. He is a Partner at YFM Equity Partners where he is responsible for the growth companies in the portfolio. Prior to joining YFM, Victor was CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital where he built up the team and portfolio, as well as being responsible for investments in CMR Surgical and Pragmatic Printing. Before that, Victor founded Opsys, an organic electronics business, which he and the team sold to Cambridge Display Technology in 2002. Victor has a PhD in Chemistry from Imperial College, London and was a Sloan Fellow at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He began his career as an academic at the University of Oxford, where he was a Royal Society University Research Fellow. Victor was the Royal Society of Chemistry Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.

“Bright SCIdea Challenge appealed to us because it seemed an excellent way to develop skills unobtainable at University. Although it promotes heavily academic thinking and creativity, we were most excited to receive professional entrepreneurial training. Also, the best way to influence everyday reality is trying to change it yourself. We wanted to immerse ourselves in a challenge like this.”
“Bright SCIdea gave us the opportunity to exit our comfort zones and immerse ourselves in entrepreneurial activities. It was so exciting and also nerve racking to pitch our business to a live audience. Employers are always looking for scientists with other skills, Bright SCIdea gives you a unique opportunity to learn vital business skills.“
Plastech Innovation
“The BrightSCIdea Challenge will help us connect with the scientific community, to compete with other bright minds and will give us vital feedback, helping us with improving our product and its future.”

Supported by

BASF - We create chemistry
Synthomer Company logo
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - Cambridge Innovation
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - Croda
EIP logo
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - Genius
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - GSK
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - Johnson Matthey
Liverpool Chirochem logo
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - Potter Clarkson
Syngenta logo
SCI Bright SCIdea Supporting Partner logo - UCB
YFM Equity Partners logo

Career News